Research Trip to Uganda

Steve and Julie Hite Professors Steven and Julie Hite of the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations consider mentoring to be one of their main responsibilities. “As professors we are full-time mentors,” Steven says. “Our goal is to get [students] to be as independent as possible because we’re training them to be researchers, not simply research assistants.”

The McKay School of Education is sponsoring the Hites and two colleagues—Pamela Hallam, also in Educational Leadership, and Stacy Taniguchi of the Department of Recreation Management and Youth Leadership—to mentor four students in Uganda for three weeks, beginning May 24. This is the ninth student group the Hites have taken to Uganda since beginning the program in 2000.

This year, graduate students Rachel Adams and Patrick Warwo will travel to Uganda, along with undergraduates Caleb Baldwin and Cortney Evans.

The Uganda program is based on the concept Steven Hite has labeled “EEL”: extend, enhance, and leverage. Students from all majors are welcome. Rather than replace or detract from their campus-based academic experiences, the Hites’ program extends students’ academic experiences to different contexts, enhances their campus-based learning, and leverages their academic experiences with observations and applications.

While in Uganda, participating students contribute to the professors’ ongoing research in that nation and thus receive training in established scholarly research. In addition, all students are required to work on their own self-designed research projects related to their academic fields. For example, a student who plans to be an optometrist might do eye examinations on secondary school students, evaluating visual challenges for these students in a developing country.

Before leaving for Uganda, students work with the professors to prepare a review of literature and a proposal, which are submitted to the Institutional Review Board in order to receive clearance to work with human subjects.

The EEL program started when Christopher Mugimu, a Ugandan, received his graduate degrees from BYU. The Hites began to coordinate trips to Uganda while Mugimu attended BYU, basing some of their training at the Uganda school he owns, Mukono Town Academy. Mugimu is currently the department head at Makarere University, a prestigious school considered to be the Harvard of East Africa.

So far, nearly 100 students from a wide variety of majors have been to Uganda with this program. Approximately half of the students who went last year have given local, national and international scholarly presentations on their research. Although the program focuses on undergraduate students, graduate students also join the group.

For More Information: Steven Hite 801-422-3814 steven_hite@byu.edu Julie Hite 801-422-5039 julie_hite@byu.edu Pam Hallam 801-422-3600 pam_hallam@byu.edu

25 May 2009